As those of you who have read ID for a while know, I have often written about the "don't ask, don't tell" culture of Catholicism. We don't ask where people are in their lived relationship with God and we don't tell them the good news of Jesus Christ.The more I read, the more I'm digging what the good folk at ID have to say. The post goes on to talk about the "spiral of silence" --
Neuman's idea is that most people have an intuitive awareness of the majority sentiment within a group, and most are less likely to speak up when they find themselves in the minority. The silencing effect thus reinforces itself: if a 40% minority does only 20% of the talking, they perceive themselves to be even more outnumbered than they truly are and are thus even less inclined to speak. Hence, the spiral into silence.Worth a read!
Neuman found that individuals avoid speaking out on controversial issues due to an innate fear of social isolation.
Because of this fear of isolation, people continuously scan their environment to try to assess the climate of opinion at all times. This would includes current and future distribution of opinion. If we think that our opinion is shared by the majority or that it is gaining ground in our culture/group, we are much more likely to talk about it openly.